Category Archives: art

Comic book geek?

The dark knight returns comic
I have recently been inspired. Not often do I see or hear something that actually inspires me to do something about it. I have been inspired by Kevin Smith and Bruce Wayne. I think I might want to get into comics!
Don’t get me wrong, loads of things have inspired me over the last few years. The Olympics inspired me to watch it but not to go out and kayak (to be fair I don’t think I was the target audience for the inspire a generation campaign), great art can inspire me but that doesn’t mean I can draw and music definitely inspires me but I still (after 16 years of owning it) can’t play more than 6 chords on my guitar. Comics though… Now there’s something I can do.
kevin smith the green arrow
What Kevin has done has shared his infectious love of Batman and all things DC. Kevin Smith, for those who don’t know, is an actor and a director. He is Silent Bob in Clerks, Mall Rats, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Dogma. He also directed all of those and more. If you’ve seen any of those then you know his love for comics. He has also written for DC for both Batman and The Green Arrow.
Let me take you back quite a few years, not to my childhood, to when me and the wife, then girlfriend, were looking for people to share our flat. We had rented a big place and had only one income at the time due to one of us studying. We put out an advert on gumtree and waited. We didn’t have to wait long as about half an hour later we had a couple wanting to come round. They came, they were extremely odd and we ushered them out the door with a promise to let them know. We had a couple of phone calls of the same ilk until finally a normal sounding Aussie called. She said that her and her bloke were interested, they came over and they were normal (ish). And so they stayed for a few years. Why am I telling you this? Because the guy half of the couple was a comic book nut.
gumtree aussie rooms
Jimmy was a funny guy who was constantly hungry. He loved computers and comic books. When I look back now I regret not tapping into his knowledge and, at the very least, getting a comic book 101 lesson. Why? Here comes the list.
1) I don’t want to look like a newbie or get ripped off. I need to get knowledgeable about comics without looking like I need the knowledge. This is where the Internet comes in. I can research them in the comfort of my own home and can also buy them and store them on my iPad. I know it’s not the same as owning the actual books but you gotta start somewhere.
Apple iPad Comic Books
2) I want to know the best arc to follow. It seems it’s not just about which character to follow but also about which version or arc. Do I go for the new Batman reboot (the 52’s) or some other timeline? This is what confuses me the most. If I was 10 I’d take whatever I could get. Maybe having money and an ability to over think things is doing me no favours.
3) I don’t have enough time for crap. Seriously. All I want is someone to tell me what to do. Where do I start and where do I go after that. I’m beginning to think that I may have the wrong comic book attitude.
If you don’t feel the need to get into comics at least have a listen to Fatman on Batman. It’s a podcast (available free in iTunes and smodcast) where Mr Smith has various guests on from the world of Batman. The first episode is all about Mark Hamill (yes, that one) who voices the joker on the animated show. It’s funny stuff, even if you’re not into comics.
fatman on batman kevin smith
Maybe I’m having a pre-second baby panic or at the very least a mid life crisis. I do know that I have started to watch Batman cartoons on TV and that my 2 and a half year old doesn’t like them. I try to tell my wife, and myself, that it’s to keep up with what the kids at school like so I can relate to them. The problem is that she can see through me and read my like a graphic novel.
Enjoy your weekend.
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Not very me

I bought some new shoes the other day, it took absolutely ages to find some I liked,  and even when I was walking away I wasn’t 100% about them. I got home, took out my new purchase (looking for some validation or confirmation about them) and my wife said that they were not very me. Why not? Yes, they are very different to my usual trainers, I admitted. I then decided on the only logical course of action.
Taking them back.

So what does my style mean? I don’t mean in a fashion sense, or even in an identity way. Why have I suddenly started buying the same stuff? I think the answer is simple… I haven’t. There was no sudden change, it’s a mixture of the following.

A) Laziness. I have developed my style over many years and via many massive fashion errors (massive). Why bother to try something new when my track record is that bad? I just go into the shop and look for Adidas shell toes or some form of chunky skate shoe, it’s what I’ve done for the last 10 years. I wear band T-shirts and baggy jeans, again something I’ve done for a good few years. It’s just…

B) Comfortable. Not just metaphorically but literally. Have you ever worn a pair of chunky skate shoes? It’s like wearing slippers. I also like to associate myself with great bands that I love to listen to, it’s what I do. Or maybe…

C) I’m unable to process anything new. I think Homer said it best,
“Every time I learn something new, it pushes something old out of my brain.”
I quite like what’s in my brain thanks, no need for a remake.

Does having a style mean you are one of a kind? Individual? Unique? I thought so when I purchased my new phone cover. It made the back of my iPhone look like a Gameboy. I went to the pub, proudly put it on the table and waited for the wonderful comments congratulating me on an awesome choice. What I got was my friend Rob pulling out his phone and waving the exact same cover at me, proving that I am not as individual as I would like to believe. I can also guarantee that most of my friends from home own a grey hoodie (as do I) and skate shoes. Myself and Rob even have the same hat preferences!

I wonder if I look like an old guy to the kids, if they look at me the same way I looked at the man in the denim jacket with band patches sewn on them? And do I, like that rock dude, care that much about it? Has my style defined my age or is my age defining my style?

heavy metal denim jackets

The other side of the coin would be what I would look like if I was 30 and followed every trend? Would that be better or worse? Would I be the guy in the room trying desperately to fit in? Hey kids, I’m one of you!

My main concern though is this… Will they still make my style of clothes and shoes in 20 years time? Will Marks and Spencer stock Etnes or DC’s? Will I be wearing baggy jeans with an elasticated waist band. Will I care by then?

Enjoy your weekend. I’m off to take my trainers back.

They are not very me.

Lots of questions this week.  Send any answers on a postcard to http://www.andrewauthor.com

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I don’t like that band but…

I love one of their songs.

I was talking to one of my friends the other day about music. I stated that I have got to a point in my life where I have a playlist of a few hours (7 hours, 51 minutes, 27 seconds to be precise) where I love all of the songs. Don’t worry, I wont list them all here. I then realised that the fact that I had such a playlist has coincided with my use of iTunes. In the good old days, when I used to like one song of a band I didn’t really like I wouldn’t bother buying the whole album. But now, I can get whatever songs I like.

So here it is, my list of songs that really make my day. Songs that I never skip on my playlist. Songs that can make me smile. Songs where I don’t really like the band but love one of their creations.

1) Kiss ‘God gave rock ‘n’ roll to you II’
This one I put down to the end of Bill and Teds bogus journey. They go off to write the song that unites mankind. I personally think they pulled it off. I tried looking for this song for ages but was under the false impression it was Z Z Top. I think it was the connection with the beards Bill S Preston esquire and Ted Theodore Logan sported.

2) Ben Harper ‘Walk away’

I had a friend who was effortlessly cool. She was like the person Ben Folds describes in his song ‘Kate’ (When all words fail she speaks. Her mix tape’s a masterpiece). I stole one of those mix tapes and this song was on it. Sorry Sara, I still have it if you want it back.

3) Alice in chains ‘Them bones’

When I was younger I spent a great deal of time round a friends house. There were 2 reasons for this: 1) he was a mate and I enjoyed his company and 2) his parents went out often. We used to get drunk and watch films, usually the same ones over and over. One such film was street fighter 2, the animated movie. It was a manga style film that had a fight scene to the above song. The fight was between Ken and Bison, in case you were interested.

4) Blind melon ‘No rain’

It was covered by a band I saw and fancied the singer. Got a snog off her eventually.

5) Squeeze ‘Tempted’

You will hear me singing this at the top of my lungs if ever you shower with me (offers on a postcard). I think it was in the film Reality bites. Anyway, it’s in my vocal range and I think I sing it amazingly. Not sure my wife agrees.

6) Bon Jovi ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’

I once played on stage with Bon Jovi. Seriously. It wasn’t as cool as it sounds though, I was pretending to play the trumpet. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I used to be in a drum corp (marching band) and we got asked to mime the start to one of his songs. Me and my fellow band mates stood on stage, in front of 60,000 people and faked playing for 30 seconds. Rock and roll baby!

So there you have it, a useless list of songs I like.

Before I sign off this week, yes I have tried the other songs from the bands in question. I just don’t get on with them.
I know some of you will love whole albums and discographies of one or two of the above bands. I also know how frustrating it is when I love an artist and someone says ‘oh yeah, I like one of their songs’. Well, you can take a stand, or you can compromise…

You can work real hard or just fantasize
But you don’t start livin’ till you realize – “I gotta tell ya!”

God gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you
Gave rock and roll to everyone
God gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you
Put it in your soul.

Bet you sang that in your head.

As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address http://www.andrewauthor.com

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Why are ginger blokes funny?

It seems to me that all the ginger men I know are funny. Not funny looking or funny weird, but funny ha ha. It was a blog I was reading the other day (the ginger fight back, give it a go) that got the cogs in my head turning. Are ginger men born funny? Or does it develop over time? Is it nature or nurture? What I mean is, does the fact that they get mocked because of their hair (I’m not condoning it, just stating facts of the schoolyard) mean they develop a self defence funny bone? A self deprecation that led one of my friends to walk around wearing nothing but a box which said ‘ginger nuts’ over his own (they are a type of biscuit for those that don’t know). I shall attempt to use some other genetic examples to quantify my theory.

1) Are all fat pepole cheerful? I once heard someone tell a large lady near me “if you’re gonna be fat, you could at least have the common decency to be jolly”. Let me set something straight from the off, this is not an attack on anyone, but if you are big boned or fat, you generally have a rosy completion and a cheeky, chubby face. This, to my eyes, gives you a cheerful quality. I think we could call it the Santa effect. And to be fair, most large people I know are very happy and laugh often. They are also great at hugs, but I digress. I also know some real miseries who are portly, so this does nothing to help prove my theory. Next.

2) Are all short men angry? I’m not, but then I’m just below average height. And once again, let me state that this is not an attack on dwarfs (even though one was called grumpy) or little people. Many famous leaders where short blokes:

Alexander the Great
Napoleon
Hitler
Sarkozy
Berlusconi
Cruise (maybe not)

All under 5’6, all wanting power, all angry about being short. Napoleon even had a complex named after him (in the psychological sense, not the building sense). I think then that this is nature. And why do short blokes date tall women? Anyway, next.

3) Are all pretty people arrogant? Yes we are. Only kidding. I think that this is more a nurture thing. I know some very attractive/pretty/sexy people (I also know some proper ugly ones, just to show I’m balanced), and it seems that some are very lovely and others are so full of themselves that they become repulsive, despite their looks. This viewpoint is not one of jealousy as my wife is attractive/pretty/sexy, so I’m not jaded by being turned down by the gorgeous folk, I married one. This to me is about upbringing. My wife is down to earth and doesn’t know how pretty she is, those who have been told their whole lives ‘you’re so gorgeous, you should be a model’ feel entitled. It reminds me of a song by the streets, Fit But You Know It. As an aside, I went to school with this guy below (yes, me and David Gandy are the same age, and have surprisingly similar dress sense). He never got the girls then so I hope his late blooming has kept him grounded.

So then, what have we learnt here today? Not much really. I think that the ginger blokes I know are funny because they learnt, at an early age, to laugh at themselves. My hair is all but gone and I can now laugh at bald jokes, I think it’s given me an avenue of comedic thinking I had never really gone done before. So in that respect, gingers are ahead of the curve.

Keep on being who you are my ginger friends, I may not be one of you, but pretty soon I’ll have so little hair it won’t matter anyway.

As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address http://www.andrewauthor.com

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Why Star Trek is cool

So what makes being a Star Trek fan cool? Shame on you for saying nothing. We have been the fish in the barrel for far too long, being shot at by those who need to be educated in this trek through the stars. We are the red shirts.

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I count myself as a grade 3 Star Trek fan. I can quote the films but never really watched the original series that much. I am able to tell you what series of TNG (the next generation) it is by Rikers facial hair but I can’t name all of the actors (most but not all). I can speak a few Klingon phrases (love the fact that Klingon is in my spellcheck), but only those in the films. I would bet I have seen all DS9 (Deep Space 9) and Voyager episodes. I’ve seen most Enterprise episodes but I’m not a massive fan. For those of you losing the will to read, please keep with me.

I would say a grade 2 would be someone who can fill in the gaps I have. A grade 1 lives, eats and breaths Trek.

So what makes it cool? A list you say? Don’t mind if I do. This list is in order from 5 to 1, chart style.

5) The new film: I have mentioned previously in my blog that I wasn’t a big fan of it. What it has done though is make trek mainstream again. In fact, I would go further than that, it’s made it popular to a wider audience, made being a Trekkie less of a stigma and meant that the franchise can stay alive. As much as I hate to admit it, the film has done a lot of good. It also means I can bore people with the differences between the old and new, the timeline discrepancies and the nods from the writers to the real Star Trek fans.
4)You get to do the shatner voice: this is great fun. You… Canmake… Some… Of …yourwords… Mixtogether… And………. Leave…..gapsbetween…… Others. Did you just read it in the voice? Good. Shatner also released a few covers albums. Some of the songs are hilarious and all of them spoken in the voice. Check it out –Shatner sings rocket man

3)The recognition when you meet another fan: ok, maybe not overly cool but still a great thing. I have a friend who is also a grade 3 Trek fan and if we have a couple of beers, if the mood takes us and if we feel like being antisocial, we can enter the Star Trek universe and talk Trek for hours. It’s one of those thing that you don’t find out about a person straight away (so maybe being a fan is not as cool as I thought) but when you do, either by a quote or a laugh from them where no one usually understands what you’re talking about, it’s a beautiful thing. The film means I can chat to people about star trek, but meeting a real fan means discussion and conversation. A sharing of memories written by a script writer and said by someone else. A bit geeky? You bet. This brings me on to…

2)It’s so uncool it’s cool: yep, you heard it here first. Forget odd facial hair, skinny jeans and one of a kind vintage T-shirts. If you wanna be truly geek chic then become a Star Trek fan. It’s free, easy and fun. You can wear Starfleet academy T-shirts (like the one I have), you can go to conventions (I have been), you can read books about it and be seen on the London underground or New York subway thumbing through it. People will look at you and say “damn that geek is cool”. If they don’t then you can be smug in the knowledge that they just don’t understand the depths of your coolness.

1)George Takei: a face book phenomena. George played Sulu in the original films and series. He is an activist for gay rights, or any human rights to be honest, and his posts and photos are a dose of daily hilarity. This does now mean though that my Facebook thievery of his pictures is now out (and most of the pictures from his blog are from him). Go see his page, it’s fantastic. George Takei

I hope you stuck with it this week. Most people glaze over when I talk about my love of all things Star Trek. Last week over dinner, a friend asked me a Star Trek question and got up and walked off halfway through my answer. So if you made it to the end I shall bestow on you the title of honorary Trekkie.

Live long and prosper.

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Why I hate Ikea

The weekend is here. A time to relax, a time to have a break from the daily slog, a time to turn off the morning alarm. What to do? Maybe a full English breakfast, a nice lunch out, a nice dinner in, a trip to the cinema, a visit with friends and family? Yes, on Saturday morning the possibilities seem endless. Ah, the weekend.

Then the words start to form on the lips of your loved one, the words that you knew were coming, the words that fill you with dread. Let’s go to Ikea.

You want to scream “no, it’s not fair!” You want to roll around the floor shouting and stamping your feet. The problem is that you can’t. You are an adult, doing adult things like washing, cleaning and making sure your house has enough storage and places to sit. I truly hate Ikea. Here are my top 6 reasons why…

1 of 6) Nameless art of places I have never been. It’s an odd thing really. I have never been to the beach that is hanging on my living room wall. To be honest, the only photos on my walls that are of places I have been are the place me and the wife said our we do’s and the studio where the photographer took the pictures of my son. I never took the pictures of the flowers in the kitchen, the sunset on the living room wall or any other ‘art’ (used in the loosest possible sense) in my home. Go take a look in Ikea (or next, tesco, asda or any non art art seller) and you will find fields, cityscapes, blue oceans and flowers. Why can’t we just leave the walls blank. Even better, get the star wars poster back off my mate and put that up. At least it’s of something I like. But that’s the point, you notice it. Ikea art is there to add colour and be ignored. Top marks guys. Job well done (please include sarcastic tone when reading last 2 comments. Thanks)

2 of 6) Flat pack and instructions. This really is the worst. Great big lumps of MDF coated to look like pine or oak. Little packets of screws, nails and nameless twisty things. Instructions in 12 different languages that are overly complicated. A list of tools you will need that is never enough and finally, when you think you are done, when you stand back and look (arms folded in a manly way) you step on the packet of screws or nails or nameless twisty things you didn’t use and wonder a) how important are they and b) how long until it falls down! The worst part though is that you actually need the instructions. That’s not very manly at all.

3 of 6) Hot dogs. Either: Oooooo look, a 45p hot dog. Let’s get one. I would rather keep my 45p and my 25 minutes Queuing time thank you very much. Or: let’s go to ikea and we can have a hotdog at the end. (deep breath) Let’s not and have pint in the pub as we don’t have enough chairs here which is why you want to go and so if we go to the pub we don’t need chairs. And inhale.

4 of 6) Many boxes for one thing. My friend has just had a little girl, well his other half did but anyway this meant 2 things. Number one: he had to get more storage. Number 2: he had to go to ikea. He was smart though, he got it delivered. Or was he? No, it appears not. He got his delivery of many boxes and quickly realised that he had 5 out of 7 boxes for his tv unit, 4 out of 9 boxes for the wardrobe and 3 out of 5 for the table. This just goes to show that even the people who work at ikea can’t find all the boxes. What hope do I have? I have 2 degrees (my wife has the same) and we can’t figure it out. Maybe I need to be Swedish?

5 0f 6) My house is full of it. Yes, yes it is. I hate myself right now. Don’t look at me.

6 of 6) oops, the item you are looking for is out of stock.

So ikea, your customer service sucks, your food is paler than it should be, your systems are overly complicated, you have a one way system that needs a sat nav, your furniture comes in millions of unnecessary boxes, the wood items you sell contain as much real wood as your hotdogs do real meat, you make me depressed and you ruin my weekends. But, you are cheap and have a clever catalogue that shows what my house could look like (if I cleaned and didn’t have a child). So for now you win. I hope you’re proud of yourself. (insert sarcasm again, cheers)

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Sequels, Remakes and Trilogies part III

Episode 3: the recycling of the film

The remake. I feel like I need to get a few things straight before I dive in. There is a film I must leave at the door and not mention again. To do so would make me swear (something I do very often but have tried not to do on this blog). It is a film that I loved as a child which had the ever awesome Gene Wilder as the star. Willie Wonka and the chocolate factory (1971) was remade horrifically. Even worse than that, it was done by a director I love and a star whose acting I admire. I will just leave it there.

The Italian job is a tough one for me. The original film is iconic in both its stars and script. It is one of those films that have seeped into everyday language with sayings that are very recognisable as having come from the film. I watched the original as a kid and loved the car chases and action. As an adult I still love those things but the dialogue is clever and witty and has further endeared the film to me. The new version is a pretty good film but lacks a certain something, certain flair, a leading man that is both charismatic and funny. If the new film had not been called the Italian job then I think I may have liked it more. Having said that, if it hadn’t been called the Italian job then people would have called it an Italian job rip off. Lose, lose I suppose.

Ocean’s eleven, what a great film. The remake I mean, not the original. The original was way before my time but I can see it has certain charms. You can tell that the people on screen are friends and that the story is meant to show off this chemistry. The new film needed to have a cast capable of standing up to rat pack comparisons, and it didn’t disappoint. Even the bit part players are Hollywood openers! I think though for me, the best part of the film is its intelligence. It’s increasingly hard to make a good heist film with all the casino technology in place, being able to get past it seems increasingly impossible. Not only did this film manage that, it did it in a way that was believable.

The remake of the remake.

The incredible hulk

I caught the original Hulk the other day (the 80’s one starring Lou Ferrigno) and found that when Bruce Banner turned into the Hulk it was pretty scary. In fact it was very scary. I then took a look at the remake, then the remake of the remake. The CGI is not very scary at all. I am unsure as to whether this is because I know its CGI or whether the original Hulk actually grabbed people by the throat and had to coordinate stunts. The last Hulk was impossibly big, didn’t move right and just looked plastic. The new films for me went on too long, had very weak storylines and the last one had a leading man who was neither big enough nor believable enough to be an action star.

I really hope this reboot craze stops with the new new Spiderman. It seems that ignoring the previous film has the advantage of being able to do whatever you like and start again. The problem is this: if the film was made badly then maybe it’s the premise that’s flawed, not the previous actors or directors. Most cartoons are best as just that. It takes a special kind of superhero to become a movie star.

My overall feeling about the remake is this.

1) If it aint broke, don’t fix it

2) Leave it alone for 30 years plus before a remake is even considered

3) Don’t re remake it. If it didn’t work once or twice, third time is unlikely to be a charm.

Take heed Hollywood, and tremble at the ravings of a 30 something semi popular children’s writer.

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Sequels, Remakes and Trilogies. Part II

The film of the series (not the snappiest of titles).

You have to do an amazing job to be in with a chance of appealing to the original fans of the show, either that or go down the star trek route of actually having the actors from the series play the film roles. It worked well with both the original star trek and the next generation. As a real Trekkie (can’t believe that just got spell checked to a capital letter), I loved the films. Having William Shatner and Patrick Stewart on the same screen at the same time? Yes, yes oh yes. The same thing happened with firefly and the film version serenity (well worth a look) and the sex and the city films (not my cup of tea but the Mrs. loves em). They are recognisable characters playing recognisable parts and they work. Well, with the exception of the Simpsons movie. That was a real doh.


The problem comes when you transfer a TV show (especially a cult classic one) to film with a new cast. Basically, you can’t replace Mr T, Hannibal, Face or Murdock. Not if you want to tap into the original market anyway. I’m not saying the A-team film was awful; it wasn’t very good either though. I think the main reason was the original actors were those characters. Mr T is BA Baracus. I find the same with the avengers and the saint, and don’t even get me started on the new star trek film!

There is evidence that it can work though. Look at the Batman franchise. I loved the Adam West show, I loved the Tim Burton films (not any of the others though, why Arnie? Why?), I love the new incarnation. I think they are all sufficiently different, and no one actor really owns the role. There is no Mr T in batman (neither literally nor metaphorically).

I will finish with my 2 favourite TV show to films. It also strike me that it may well be because they started as sketch shows.

The Muppet show: I loved the Muppets as a kid and love the first Muppet movie. They took a sketch show of believable characters (albeit puppets) and showed us what they were like when they weren’t on the show. The plot is thin, the acting is hammy (terrible pun, sorry miss piggy) and you can see wires coming out of their arms. This to me though adds to the charm.

Monty pythons flying circus: An amazing TV show with a string of amazing films. The show and films are my dad’s era really, but I think they are timeless. My favourite of the lot has to be the life of Brian, if only because of the outrage of the religious community.

That’s it for episode 2: the return of the over opinionated bloggist.

Episode 3 promises the remake and the remake of the remake. I’m going down the Godfather route though (not making it rubbish, hopefully) and leaving a gap between parts 1 and 2 and part 3. Until next week.

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Defined by a decade (or dance like my dad)

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I love the 90’s! Sounds like a bad album title, but it’s a statement I stand by. I have recently been listening to a 90’s radio station and have realised a few things… Firstly, I love music of the 90’s. Secondly, songs I didn’t like at the time are now songs I sing along to (am I mellowing or am I just happy to have remembered the lyrics?). Thirdly, I find myself dancing around with my 2 year old whilst singing (with him shouting “no daddy”) at the top of my lungs. And yes folks, I am dancing like my dad. I’m not saying its all good. I do remember some of the horror of the 90’s, simply red for example

When I was growing up, I found that my dad seemed to be stuck in a certain period of music. He loved the late 70’s and early 80’s, his decade was 75 to 85. To be fair though, it was a pretty good time for music. A bit of style council (shout to the top), a litttle squeeze (tempted) and a lot of Luther Vandross. I love this period in music, its not mine but it’s good. My dads top 5 are as follows…

Paul Simon – diamonds on the soles of her shoes.

Luther Vandross – stop to love

Paul Young – wherever I lay my hat

Frankie goes to Hollywood – relax

Eurythmics – sweet dreams

My point is this: I am not so much stuck in the 90’s (I own a great deal of music from the last 2 decades) as I am defined by it. You get to a point where all the music that comes after it just doesn’t seem as good, when you start to say things like “what’s this rubbish?” or “they just sound like they’re ripping off such and such”. I used to hate it when my dad said that to me but now I understand a little better.

So for what it is worth, and in true hi fidelity style, here are my own personal top 5 tracks of the 90’s…

Smashing pumpkins- today.
I loved and love the pumpkins. The fact the Billy Corgan is a terrible singer just makes you love em more. A real marmite band.

Red hot chilli peppers- under the bridge.
This song is even better when you know the story behind it. If ever you want a good rock and roll story read ‘scar tissue’. Awesome book.

Placebo – nancy boy.
I really wanted to be part of this band, skinny dudes with make up and odd hair. This was a great jumping round you room song.

Ocean colour scene- the day we caught the train.
Being in a club, under age, drinking newcastle brown and shouting the lyrics. Good times.

Blind melon- no rain.
I liked a girl in a band that covered it. Very shallow but a great song.

I have kept my top 5 main stream and free from rap and dance. I could have included so much more such as groove is in the heart, u can’t touch this and a certain shade of green.

I would love to know your top 5 as I am keen to see if I have missed any obvious ones. My list is open to change and I reserve the right to be wrong.

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‘Scissor sister’ and other hair based puns.

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My sister is a hair dresser, which means she has to ask meaningless personal, but not over personal, questions to up to 20 clients a day. What’s more, she needs to act interested in the answers each time.
This is even worse at Christmas, as questions are all the same. It’s not just before Christmas though, it’s after as well. Here are my sisters most hated questions that she has to ask…

Before – have you done your Christmas shopping? Where you spending Christmas? What are you doing for new year?

After – how was your Christmas? What did you get? How was your new year?

Now I feel I need to point out (mainly because my sister told me to) that she is genuinely interested in what her regulars have to say. Some of her regulars have followed her round London for many years (not in a stalker sense but to get hair done) and a few of them are her close friends, these are the ones she would ask the questions to anyway. It’s the walk in, sit down, have an awkward chat types that do her head in.

As a customer at a hairdressers I know what she means. The small talk can be agonising. You can go one of two ways. 1) chat as little as possible, hoping the hairdresser will run out of steam and give up or 2) go full steam ahead and divulge your life story. I generally go for option one as I have no problem with awkward moments. I almost treat it as a challenge, trying to answer in the least possible words as I can without being outright rude. I believe there has to be a better answer though. Here are my suggestions.

1) bring back the barber shop quartet. There would be no awkward silences if the hairdressing staff all sang 1950’s songs (harmonising of course) all day long. There could be some awkward noise though.

2) get Buddhist monks to cut hair. This is a bit of a career change for them and they wouldn’t be able to practice on there friends but the vow of silence would solve all problems.

3) anaesthesia. Just like going in for an operation. Count back from 10, go to sleep and wake up with a brand new hair cut. It might bump up the price a little to have trained medical staff in the salon but hey, they could take whatever tip they wanted while you were out cold.

So next time you go to the hairdresser, why not ask them how they are, what they have been up to, where they are going on holiday this year. And don’t forget to seem interested when they show you the back of your head, even though you will never have to look at it!
Who else in our society keeps the pun as well as hairdressing salon names.

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